OSU College of Ag Sciences honors Hood River resident

October 27, 2006

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Rita Swyers, of Hood River, has played several roles during her life, including wife, mother, and executive director of the Migrant and Indian Coalition for Coordinated Child Care (MIC).

She is one of 26 men and women to be named 2006 Diamond Pioneers by the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences. They were honored at a luncheon Thursday, Oct. 26, hosted by Dean Thayne Dutson.

The college’s Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Registry, now in its 23rd year, honors the accomplishments of those 75 and older. It began when the college observed its 75th anniversary.

Swyers grew up on a Sherman County wheat ranch, went to OSU, married in 1944, and moved to Indiana. She returned to the mid-Columbia area in the early 1960s as a single mother supporting four children. She found work with the Tri-County Community Action Program, promoting self-sufficiency of limited income families and individuals in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties.

In 1970, she was a key player with Parkdale area growers in founding MIC to provide childcare for the children of migrants. While serving as executive director from 1970 to 1982, Swyers saw MIC grow to a statewide program providing a range of services including health and nutrition and family counseling. In 1970, she married orchardist Wes Swyers. When Women for Agriculture organized in Hood River County in the mid-1970s, Swyers became an active member and served as chair from 1980 to 1995. She was also vice chair of the state organization at one time and represented Women for Agriculture on the Hood River Chamber of Commerce board from 1979 to 1992.

Swyers remains active as vice president of Oregonians in Action, whose focus is on property rights. She was nominated for the registry by the staff of the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Others to be honored are Myron S. and S. Jane Harper, Brooks; Margaret Campbell and Bill Jaeger, Condon; Ian Tinsley, Harry Nakaue, Allan Deutsch, John R. Dalvis, and Floyd Bolton, Corvallis; W. James Clawson, Dallas; Edwin (Tad) H. Miller, Jr., Louis Carlson, and Betty Graves Carlson, Heppner; Donald Rydrych and Harry Schuening, Helix. DeLane Fry, Hillsboro; Don Logan, North Plains; Ben Holdman, Pendleton; Vernon Hulit and Ray McNeilan, Portland; Don Kruse, Roseburg; David Childs, The Dalles; Allan Pinkerton, Surprise, AZ, and Pendleton; Edmund Zottola, Cook, Minnesota, formerly of Grants Pass; and the late Ernest J. Briskey, Waunakee, Wisconsin.

Author: Len Calvert
Source: Loretta Austin